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North Face (a.k.a. Wyrick-Merrill)

 
North Face (a.k.a. Wyrick-Merrill)

Page Type: Route

Location: Utah, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.72500°N / 109.292°W

Object Title: North Face (a.k.a. Wyrick-Merrill)

Route Type: Aid Climbing

Season: Spring, Fall, Winter

Time Required: Half a day

Rock Difficulty: 5.8 (YDS)

Difficulty: II - III 5.8 C2

Number of Pitches: 3

Grade: II

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes
 

 

Page By: rpc

Created/Edited: Sep 6, 2007 / May 6, 2013

Object ID: 333656

Hits: 2329 

Page Score: 85.36%  - 20 Votes 

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Overview

 
Wyrick-Merrill
Pitch 1

Noahs213 mentions:  "Thought I'd add, go do the Flow (5.8 C1).  P1 of WM has fallen apart"

Put up in 1973 by the duo of Wyrick and Merrill, this was the first line established on the tower. From the appearance of it, most of the fixed gear is original vintage giving the first pitch bolt ladder some nice spice. The belay anchors have since been supplemented by limited amounts of more modern gear though little in the way of adventure feel has been lost as some of the newer bolts flex nicely in their holes. The rock is quite interesting as well especially on the first two pitches making for some excitement when free climbing becomes mandatory. The final pitch (Moenkopi layer) features solid rock and fun (wide crack) climbing.

Note that the Bjornstad guidebook (see River Tower page here) has this route listed as III 5.8 C1 while Burns guidebook gives it as III 5.8 C2. Though I think it's more of a grade II, I'd say C2 on the aid rating...and a somewhat nasty C2 at that as you're looking at the worst placements directly above P1 belay (which itself leaves something to be desired).

Getting There

Follow directions on main page for River Tower. The north face is the face that vaguely faces the Colorado River. Route is located near the left side of the face (northwest side). Look for obvious "bolt" ladder going up into a chimney-like groove about 50 feet up.

Route Description

 
Wyrick-Merrill
P1
 
Wyrick-Merrill
P2

Pitch 1: C1, 120 feet. Follow the bolt ladder to about 15 feet below the anchor where several C1 placements are required. You'll get to clip some exciting fixed pieces on this pitch (suggest screamers) some of which needed to be excavated from the mud.

Pitch 2: 5.8 C2, 90 feet. Some C2-ish placements directly above the belay anchor (which itself is a tad exciting) bring you to some mandatory free climbing up a mud chimney (easy 5th). Chimney constricts just above the 2nd fixed pin. Above, step right onto dirty, sloping ledges. Follow lower angle grooves above one more fixed pin to a fixed belay just below the top of the ridge.

Pitch 3: 5.8, 90 feet. Hike up to the ridge top, fix a rope and rap into the notch. Climb back out of the notch via easy chimney then a wide (#4 C4) crack. Belay bolts just below the deteriorating summit.

Descent:
Rap from summit to notch and jug out of notch heading back to pitch 2 belay anchor.

Rap back to top of P1 (single 60 meter probably enough).

Rap to ground (double rope needed).

Note that two 70 meter ropes allow you to rap directly to ground from top of P2 (not sure if 2 60 meter lines would suffice).

Essential Gear

 
Five Piece Rawl
 

Single set of cams from black Alien to #3 Camalot (possibly extra #0.5 or red Aliens). Double #4 Camalots. One or two larger pieces. Lots of small and medium nuts or rivet hangers for the long (mostly hangerless) laddder. Screamers. Goggles/ski mask.

Route Topo

Wyrick-Merrill
Wyrick-Merrill

Having Fun With Perspective

Roughly same instant of the climb captured three ways.
 
Wyrick-Merrill
View Down
 
Wyrick-Merrill
View Up

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Wyrick-Merrill
From Afar

Images

Five Piece RawlWyrick-MerrillBolt LadderWyrick-MerrillWyrick-MerrillWyrick-MerrillWyrick-Merrill
Wyrick-Merrill